Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 92K From Last Week

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending May 1, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 498,000, a decrease of 92,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 37,000 from 553,000 to 590,000. The 4-week moving average was 560,000, a decrease of 61,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week's average was revised up by 9,250 from 611,750 to 621,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending April 24, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 24 was 3,690,000, an increase of 37,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 7,000 from 3,660,000 to 3,653,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,675,750, a decrease of 6,750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 28, 2020 when it was 3,611,750. The previous week's average was revised down by 1,500 from 3,684,000 to 3,682,500. [See full report]

This morning's seasonally adjusted 498K new claims, down 92K from the previous week's upwardly revised figure, was better than the Investing.com forecast of 540K.

Here is a close look at the data over the decade (with a callout for the past year), which gives a clearer sense of the overall trend.

Unemployment Claims since 2007

As we can see, there's a good bit of volatility in this indicator, which is why the 4-week moving average (the highlighted number) is a more useful number than the weekly data. Here is the complete data series.

Unemployment Claims

The headline Unemployment Insurance data is seasonally adjusted. What does the non-seasonally adjusted data look like? See the chart below, which clearly shows the extreme volatility of the non-adjusted data (the red dots). The 4-week MA gives an indication of the recurring pattern of seasonal change (note, for example, those regular January spikes).

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